United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Jordan on Tuesday on a Center East tour to indicate dedication to the area after President Donald Trump’s shock choice to withdraw troops from war-torn Syria.
The highest US diplomat, on his longest journey since taking the submit final yr, pledged that the Islamic State group (IS) wouldn’t be allowed to regroup following a string of battlefield defeats.
However in a stark reminder of the lingering risk, a warfare monitor reported that the jihadists had killed 23 US-backed fighters in a counterattack in japanese Syria geared toward defending their final bastion.
After setting off on the journey to eight Arab capitals, Pompeo informed reporters he would present that “the US remains to be dedicated to all of the missions that we have signed up for with them over the previous two years”.
The eight-day tour comes weeks after Trump introduced that the US would rapidly pull its 2,000 troopers out of Syria, declaring that IS — also called ISIS — had been defeated.
His advisers have since been strolling again his timeline, with nationwide safety adviser John Bolton saying on Monday in Jerusalem that the US would confirm that the group is really overwhelmed earlier than withdrawing.
Highlighting that emerges through the tenure of Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Pompeo mentioned the marketing campaign to destroy the motion’s self-styled “caliphate” in war-battered Syria has been “enormously profitable”.
“And I’m assured that we are going to proceed to make sure that the sort of rise that ISIS had beneath the Obama administration would not happen once more,” he mentioned on his aircraft.
IS hits again
Simply hours later the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights mentioned IS suicide attackers had hit the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in japanese Syria, killing 23 of its fighters.
IS was unable to carry on to the positions it attacked however the assault which started late on Sunday killed 23 SDF members and likewise left 9 jihadists lifeless, the Britain-based monitor mentioned.
Pompeo opened his journey in Jordan and can ship an deal with on Center East coverage in Egypt, whose military chief turned president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has been a key associate of Trump.
He may also go to Manama, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, Kuwait Metropolis, and probably Baghdad.
A significant focus of the tour can be sustaining a regional coalition to counter Iran, the primary enemy of US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel.
“It is a coalition that understands that the most important threats — terrorism and the Islamic Republic of Iran — are issues that we must work on collectively and we can be marshalling the entire assets, theirs and ours, to attain them,” Pompeo mentioned.
Final yr, Trump pulled out of a world accord negotiated beneath Obama on ending Iran’s nuclear programme and has as an alternative reimposed biting sanctions.
Pompeo has repeatedly known as Iran “the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” pointing to its concentrating on of home rivals in Europe and assist of militant actions corresponding to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
Turkish pledge on Kurds
The Trump administration has cited Iran as a motive for sustaining a powerful alliance with Saudi Arabia, regardless of the homicide and dismemberment of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the dominion’s Istanbul consulate in October.
One of many uncommon US companions to assist Washington’s withdrawal from Syria has been Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke to Trump earlier than the US chief’s December 19 choice.
Pompeo, in an interview earlier than his departure, mentioned that Erdogan had “made a dedication” to Trump to not assault Washington’s Kurdish allies who’ve fought IS in Syria.
Bolton, the White Home nationwide safety adviser, held talks Tuesday in Ankara as tensions grew over his earlier feedback that the US retreat was conditional on the security of US-backed Kurdish fighters, thought-about terrorists by Turkey.
Erdogan branded his remarks “unacceptable” and a “grave mistake”.
“It’s not doable to simply accept or swallow the message given by Bolton from Israel,” Erdogan informed his social gathering’s lawmakers in parliament.
Israel, which Bolton visited earlier than Turkey, has privately frightened that Trump’s withdrawal from Syria would empower Iran, which together with Russia affords navy backing to President Bashar al-Assad within the nation’s devastating civil warfare.